The Temple of Memories: History, Power, and Morality in a Chinese Village.
AbeBooks Verkäufer seit 7. Oktober 1999Anzahl: 1
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Titel: The Temple of Memories: History, Power, and ...
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This study focuses on the politics of memory in the village of Dachuan in northwest China, in which 85 percent of the villagers are surnamed Kong and believe themselves to be descendants of Confucius. It recounts both how this proud community was subjected to intense suffering during the Maoist era, culminating in its forcible resettlement in December 1960 to make way for the construction of a major hydroelectric dam, and how the village eventually sought recovery through the commemoration of that suffering and the revival of a redefined religion. Before 1949, the Kongs had dominated their area because of their political influence, wealth, and, above all, their identification with Confucius, whose precepts underlay so much of the Chinese ethical and political tradition. After the Communists came to power in 1949, these people, as a literal embodiment of the Confucian heritage, became prime targets for Maoist political campaigns attacking the traditional order, from land reform to the “Criticize Confucius” movement. Many villagers were arrested, three were beheaded, and others died in labor camps. When the villagers were forced to hastily abandon their homes and the village temple, they had time to disinter only the bones of their closest family members; the tombs of earlier generations were destroyed by construction workers for the dam.From the Author:
My own path converged with that of the Dachuan Kongs in the summer of 1989, weeks after the military suppression of demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. At the time, I was a researcher at Beijing University's Institute of Sociology, directed by the renowned anthropologist Fei Xiaotong. Fei had earlier suggested as a research topic looking into the long-term consequences of population dislocation due to water projects in northwest China. In fact, the institute's initial findings had already figured in the debate over building a dam at the Yangtze River's Three Gorges. With the university effectively shut down, first by the student protests and then by the political crackdown, and with little interest in remaining in Beijing, where friends and colleagues were being arrested, several of us decided to resume that research. It was thus, in July 1989, that I set off with another researcher and two graduate students for Gansu and my first encounter with the Kongs in the relocated village of Dachuan. At first, I expected this to be a short-term study, mostly about reservoir resettlement. Instead, I returned to Dachuan, after entering a doctoral program in anthropology at Harvard University, to spend the summer of 1991, eight months in 1992, and a brief stay in 1993, learning not only about resettlement but other aspects of the local experience of radical socialism during the Maoist era and the way of life in the post-Maoist period.
The 1989 trip was to prove to be my first field research into the range of issues generally addressed by scholars under the heading "social memory." The ultimate goal of social memory research is to investigate the transformative impact of group-life requirements and collective interests upon the overall framework and specific contents of personal recollections. As explained in my book, the reconstruction of Dachuan's Confucius temple and the renewal of a temple festival were an ideal opportunity for this kind of research. I should add that since 1992 I have revisited Dachuan every summer to study the village's new development. The village has built a preschool at the new Confucius temple, enrolling more than eighty students while allowing the temple to continue functioning as a religious site.
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